The Fantastic 4 (a/k/a Fantastic Four) remake’s been accused of suffering from the same problems as The Amazing Spider-Man: dark-tone cash-grab designed to appeal to critics while keeping publisher Marvel Comics’ owner Disney from reclaiming a fallow field from 20th Century-Fox of 20th the movie studio and Fox the TV network fame. Similar fates had already befallen Daredevil and Elektra and threaten the X-Men.
There’ve been claims also that Disney tried shade campaigns of its own against the Fantastic Four reboot (just to keep 20th from enjoying the F4 franchise without sharing more with Disney; see entry under The X-Men). And this is After earlier claims by Disney producers that one of their attempts at a live-action franchise was a victim of critics’ shade campaigns (see entry under The Lone Ranger).
Honestly, I’m surprised that nobody’s pointed out yet Disney’s infamy for holding out on a deal until that studio gets better terms. What also shocks me is that the late-1990s/early-2000s deals made among 20th, Marvel Comics’ Marvel Studios, and fellow Marvel distributors Columbia, Dimension Films (at that time a Disney unit), New Line Cinema, Paramount, and Universal for the movie, merchandising, and theme-park rights to Marvel Comics never included (or publicized) a clause involving what happens to the rights to those films (who gets to produce/distribute a film, stage, or TV show, or operate a theme-park ride/shop/restaurant/stage show where, in which format, for what time frame, and for how much money to put in versus how much money to get out) in the event that any of those companies changes owners, merge/buy each other out, and/or merge with/take over/get taken over by a party outside of their merry little clique.
Even more surprising to me is that 20th hasn’t yet taken Disney and their fellow distributors to court, claiming that Disney’s been pressuring them all into giving up lucrative movie rights without much of a fight to protect themselves or each other, and/or that Disney’s forced them all to make hole-plugging rush-jobs just to cover terms in their pre-Disney-buyout license deals with Marvel Comics’ Marvel Studios so that the rights don’t go to Disney.
And that’s leaving out that in the pre-Disney days, Marvel sought to develop a live-action X-Men TV series (Mutant X) without Fox getting any say in – or money out of – it, yet wouldn’t let 20th use Nick Fury on the big screen (likely both to keep from diluting the character in the Paramount movies, and to reduce jokes about Fox’s unsold Nick Fury TV pilot from the 1990s; that said, Fox earlier had done a failed – and, apparently, reviled – pilot for a live-action X-Men TV series, which partially could explain why Fox wasn’t invited to the Mutant X party).
(Of course, then 20th will have to prove those charges in court, which depends on how good their PIs, jury consultants, and lawyers are…)
At a later date I’ll explore a major criticism I’d listed earlier about how dark the non-Disney Marvel movies have gotten (a likely result of misreading the reasons for the X-Men movies’ critical and financial success and the creative mixed bags that the Batman, Spider-Man, and Fantastic Four movies became). I’ll also comment on how dark the Distinguished Competition’s TV shows and movies have gotten in response, and in turn may have influenced the House of Ideas.
‘Til then, quoth Stan Lee, Excelsior, true believers!